Background: Energy drinks are popular beverages that can have adverse long-term health effects when consumed by children and adolescents. This study sought to determine if the age of first energy drink use in a U.S. military population is predictive of the maximum number of energy drinks consumed during a single day and/or single occasion (operationally defined as a couple of hours; e.g., a night out, during studying or sport session). Method: Student U.S. naval aviator and naval flight officers who reported past-year use of energy drinks (N. =. 239) were surveyed to determine various measures of energy drink consumption. Results: Age of first consumption was predictive of the maximum number of energy drinks consumed during a single occasion within the past year. Within this sample, the age range between 13 and 16. years appeared to be a critical period with results indicating that people who began consuming energy drinks during this period were 4.88 times more likely to consume high quantities (four or more) of energy drinks during a single occasion when compared to those who started consuming energy drinks between the ages of 20-23. Likewise, persons who began to consume energy drinks between the ages of 13-16 are 2.48 times more likely to consume high quantities of energy drinks during a single occasion than those who started between the ages of 17-19. There was no difference between 17 and 19. year olds and 20-23. year olds. Age of first use was not correlated to daily average intake or daily maximal intake of energy drinks. Conclusions: A lower age of first energy drink use suggests higher risk of single-occasion heavy episodic consumption in this military population. Researchers should further explore the relationship of early onset energy drink consumption and potential future health risks.
Sather, T. E., Woolsey, C. L., Williams, R. D., Evans, M. W., & Cromartie, F. (2016). Age of first use of energy beverages predicts future maximal consumption among naval pilot and flight officer candidates. Addictive Behaviors Reports, 3, 9–13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.abrep.2015.12.001